The sound of haunting and sad violin music. It swells and swerves in and out of dissonance.
Voiceover: Night Visions: An Audio Drama. With Paul Melendy as MAN and Megan Grandmont as WOMAN. Written, directed, and produced by Megan Grandmont.
Suddenly, a door slams in the distance and the music cuts out.
WOMAN: (Distantly) I’m home!
MAN: (Waking up – stretching and sighing.) Mmm… hey. (Clears throat) I guess I fell asleep.
WOMAN: (Closer now) Hey. (Kisses him lightly.) You’re watching Inception again? Haven’t you seen this movie about a hundred times? (Moving away) It’s only good the first time, you know.
MAN: Oh, that is so not true! I may have seen it a hundred times, but the ending never gets less mysterious to me. Is he back in the real world, or only dreaming?
WOMAN: (Clattering in the kitchen) Yeah, but by now you must have a theory.
MAN: (Thoughtfully) Well, I guess if you forced me to choose, I’d say he’s still dreaming. I don’t think he ever gets to wake up and go home… No. That reminds me, I think I was having that dream again?
WOMAN: (Absently) Which one?
MAN: Uh, you know, the one where I lose all my fingers. You know, (Scoffs) I’m in the car, driving home, from where I’m not sure. I pull into the driveway and suddenly I lose control of the car. I crash into the garage door, and when I come to I look down at my hands. That’s when I realize that somehow, in the accident, all my fingers are just… gone.
As he talks, we hear the sounds he describes. The car, the screech of brakes, the slam. Breaking glass.
MAN: (Abruptly and urgently) What do you think it means?
WOMAN: Did you get any painting done today?
MAN: N-no, I – listen, what do you think that dream means? I’ve had it… (Trying to recall) three times this month alone.
She walks closer. Silence.
MAN: (Hesitant but this is important) Because my dream dictionary says that fingers are – uh, oh God, what was it? Uh – (Trying to remember) “expressions of emotions and intent.” Do you think that’s true?
WOMAN: So you didn’t do any painting today. What did you do instead? Just watch Inception 12 more times? (Sarcastic but not mean) “A dream within a dream?”
MAN: Well, actually, before that I watched Eternal Sunshine, but you’re missing the point! This matters to me. I really feel like figuring this dream out would… well, I feel like it would unlock something for me… so.
WOMAN: It would unlock something for you? (Acerbically) That is such bullshit. You sit around on your ass all day. You haven’t even tried to make any art in three months – three months – because, what, because of some dream? Let me let you in on a little secret. Dreams are not meaningful. They are not your brain trying to tell you something. They’re just neurons, firing randomly away while you sleep. You think this shit is profound? Let’s see… (She grabs his dream journal and flips through it)
MAN: Wait – no – put that down –
WOMAN: (Reading aloud) “March 27. What I can remember: She died – in a boat? At sea? I paid for the funeral, or coffin. I smelled her pillow to try to remember what she smelled like.” (Lightly) You killed me off?? Nice, really nice.
As she talks, the sound picks up again, this time of crashing waves, and then a deep inhale and exhale. MAN is re-experiencing the dreams as she reads about them. WOMAN turning pages.
WOMAN: “March 29. But I didn’t end up doing those things. I never saw the cat at all (Confused, trying to make sense of what she’s reading) and the dogs didn’t seem hungry? The last image I remember is of more shelves of books somehow outside and under the house. They were almost impossible to access.” Well, that’s just crazy, dogs are always hungry. (She is mocking him)
Sound of dog whimpering pitifully. The dream sounds are increasing in volume while WOMAN’s voice is decreasing.
MAN: Please stop…
WOMAN turns pages.
WOMAN: (Muffled) “July 14. Dreamt I was like 3 or 4 months pregnant. (Surprised) Spent the whole dream protectively cupping my belly with my hands. Think I may have actually been doing this while asleep too.” (Sarcastic and laughingly) Uh-oh. Is there something you need to tell me?
Sound of a heartbeat, then a baby crying. WOMAN is talking, but the words are not clear.
WOMAN: I said, how can you find this shit meaningful? It’s just… nonsense. Neurological noise.
MAN: I don’t know, I – (He is undone but trying to recover.) They feel real to me. Sometimes realer than this shitty life in our shitty apartment, where I sit alone every day agonizing over the art that I can’t make.
WOMAN: (Gently) Baby, dreams don’t help pay the bills.
MAN: (Forcefully) I know… I know. (Beat) Listen, uh, (sigh) I have something to – to tell you. (He is solemn.)
WOMAN: What is it, what’s wrong?
MAN: (Haltingly) I’ve been experiencing some, um… hallucinations over the past few months. Images from my dreams, haunting me in the middle of the day. (Choked up) I thought I was going crazy, but I went to the doctor and the real reason might be even worse, if that’s possible. Uh, it turns out I have macular degeneration. I’m going blind, slowly. It makes no sense because no one in my family has had this that I know of, and it’s very rare in men of my age but… here we are.
WOMAN: Oh my God. I’m so – (Breaking down) I’m so sorry. (Crying)
MAN: Yeah, hm. Me too.
MAN: (Breathing deeply) Hey, uh, I’m pretty wiped. I think I’m gonna go to bed. Can we talk more about this in the morning?
WOMAN: Yeah, of course.
Sound of MAN getting up and crossing the room. WOMAN cries softly as the violin music swells again and fades out.
An alarm clock goes off intrusively until someone turns it off. WOMAN breathes deeply. We hear MAN and WOMAN shifting in bed as they wake up.
WOMAN: (Sweetly, but her voice is rough) Hey… sleep okay?
WOMAN: Did you have any dreams?
MAN: (Sleepy) Yeah, I did.
WOMAN: What did you dream about? Do you want to write it in your journal?
MAN: You know, I think I’m going to go paint it.
Covers shift. MAN gets up and walks out of the room.
WOMAN: (Hopefully) …I’ll go make some coffee.
Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien” plays defiantly over the end credits.